Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, August 12, 2021

flump

[ fluhmp ]

verb (used with or without object)

to plump down suddenly or heavily; flop.

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What is the origin of flump?

Flump, a verb and noun meaning “to drop or fall suddenly or heavily; the act or sound of flumping,” is a colloquialism dating back to the first half of the 19th century. As with many colloquial and slang terms, its etymology is obscure: some authorities suggest a blend of flop and plump, which have similar meanings; others suggest a purely imitative origin, as with dump and slump.

how is flump used?

I like headstands a lot more than the huff-puff exercises Baba Devanand does with his legs crossed in the lotus position. But right now, if I stay upside down any longer, I’ll break my neck, so I flump to the bed that smells of coriander powder and raw onions and Ma and bricks and cement and Papa.

Deepa Anappara, Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, 2020

Horsey Gap is usually a gloriously empty stretch of sand dunes on the crumbling Norfolk coast. At this time of year, however, it is bustling with rowdy grey seals, flumping across the sand and arcing their banana bodies protectively around new pups.

Patrick Barkham, "Mind Norfolk’s Horsey Gap and its seal-related cottage industry," The Guardian, January 8, 2015

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Word of the day

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

skerrick

[ sker-ik ]

noun

a small piece or quantity; a bit.

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What is the origin of skerrick?

Skerrick, “a small piece or quantity; a bit,” used in the negative, as in “Not a skerrick of work got done,” is a slang term used nowadays mostly in Australia and New Zealand. Skerrick originated in Great Britain in the early 1820s as a slang term for halfpenny. As with most slang terms, the origin of skerrick is obscure: it may be a variant of scuddick, which also dates from the early 1820s, means the same thing as skerrick, and has an equally obscure etymology.

how is skerrick used?

Stuck awkwardly amongst straggly olive trees on the high side of the road winding up from the village to the crest above the sea, the house had not a skerrick of charm.

Robert Dessaix, Corfu: A Novel, 2001

With the Prime Minister last week announcing a four-phase reopening scheme to bring Australia back to normality, a skerrick of hope has blossomed in many hearts. Finally, there is a path forward.

Brendan Leeds, "The hospitality sector is facing a mental health crisis," Smart Company, July 8, 2021

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Word of the day

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

saudade

[ soh-dah-duh ]

noun

a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent.

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What is the origin of saudade?

Portuguese saudade ultimately derives from Latin sōlitāt-, the stem of sōlitās “loneliness, solitude.” (Latin –l– between vowels is lost in Portuguese; Latin –t– between vowels becomes –d– in Portuguese and Spanish.) The original Old Portuguese form soidade was altered to saudade under the influence of the verb saudar “to salute, greet” (from Latin salūtāre “to keep safe, pay one’s respects”). Saudade entered English in the 20th century.

how is saudade used?

Saudade is a bittersweet feeling of longing for a loved person or a place that is gone,” I finally said, as melancholic memories of my beloved ones forcefully surfaced in my mind. “Some people translate it as the love that remains. It is painful, yet you yearn for it because you only feel saudade when you deeply love.”

Beatriz Vasconcellos, "From Hygge To Saudade: The Power of Untranslatable Words," WBUR, January 3, 2021

Many vibes don’t have specific names, but some do. Saudade, the Portuguese word for a bittersweet longing, could count as a vibe.

Kyle Chayka, "TikTok and the Vibes Revival," The New Yorker, April 26, 2021

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